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Silent Fiddle Build #10: The nut and saddle

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 06-08-2020 10:17 PM 301 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Neck Work Part 10 of Silent Fiddle Build series Part 11: Fitting the pegs »

The nut and saddle on a violoin are usually made from ebony, but I like to make mine from this chunk of cherry wood that I have. It adds a bit of a signature to my creations.

For the nut I take a piece of cherry that roughly fits and I glue it in place at the end of the fingerboard. When the glue has set I just carve it into shape with a chisel and files.

The saddle fits into a socket that I created earlier. I shape it and then glue it in.

Note the specialized elastic clamps!

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!



9 comments so far

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Redoak49

4798 posts in 2791 days


#1 posted 06-08-2020 11:16 PM

Interesting blog and I know nothing about musical instruments.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5634 posts in 1385 days


#2 posted 06-09-2020 02:13 AM

Getting closer, Dave! I’m interested to hear it on e you get it all together.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Dave Rutan

1957 posts in 2991 days


#3 posted 06-09-2020 01:19 PM



Getting closer, Dave! I’m interested to hear it on e you get it all together.

- Dave Polaschek

Since these posts are a few days behind reality, I can tell you that I think it sounds good. I just need to record a sample before I post it as a project. It definitely accomplishes the mission I set for it.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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Dave Polaschek

5634 posts in 1385 days


#4 posted 06-09-2020 01:30 PM

Cool! I’ve heard mixed results from piezo pickups. Some way better than I expected, and some that had me initially thinking they were all garbage. Glad to hear yours is working well,

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Dave Rutan

1957 posts in 2991 days


#5 posted 06-09-2020 01:59 PM



Cool! I’ve heard mixed results from piezo pickups. Some way better than I expected, and some that had me initially thinking they were all garbage. Glad to hear yours is working well,

- Dave Polaschek

My experience for judging is limited. I’ve worked on/tested only 2 electric violins before this, maybe both were Yamahas. Hooked up to a free standing amp, my fiddle sounded the same as those other 2. I was aiming for outwardly silent and audible by me using earbuds. Bonus: I can plug a pair of computer speakers into it as well!

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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Dave Polaschek

5634 posts in 1385 days


#6 posted 06-10-2020 03:12 AM

My experience with piezo pickups was mostly for acoustic guitars as far back as the 70s. I assume they’ve gotten better since then, but part of my brain still thinks they’re all like that.

If you’re looking for a compact practice amp, there’s a cute little Fender amp that’s about 4×6x1.5 that runs forever on a 9V. A step up from that is the Roland MicroCube, which is loud enough for busking or filling up a coffee-shop with sound. I’m not sure how it would behave with a fiddle, but I expect one of the “clean” sounds would work pretty well. Or you could go grungy and distorted. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Dave Rutan

1957 posts in 2991 days


#7 posted 06-10-2020 11:03 AM



My experience with piezo pickups was mostly for acoustic guitars as far back as the 70s. I assume they’ve gotten better since then, but part of my brain still thinks they’re all like that.

If you’re looking for a compact practice amp, there’s a cute little Fender amp that’s about 4×6x1.5 that runs forever on a 9V. A step up from that is the Roland MicroCube, which is loud enough for busking or filling up a coffee-shop with sound. I m not sure how it would behave with a fiddle, but I expect one of the “clean” sounds would work pretty well. Or you could go grungy and distorted. ;-)

- Dave Polaschek

No need for an amp because I built this so that I could practice discretely in my house. Once I record the sample for the world, I’m pretty much done being heard.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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Dave Polaschek

5634 posts in 1385 days


#8 posted 06-10-2020 12:28 PM

True, but there’s always the coffee-house tactic of “pay me and I’ll quit playing” which I’m pretty sure a friend of mine used during his broke college years. He claimed people were paying him to play, but every time I saw, the donations went up when he stopped. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Dave Rutan

1957 posts in 2991 days


#9 posted 06-10-2020 08:30 PM



True, but there’s always the coffee-house tactic of “pay me and I’ll quit playing” which I’m pretty sure a friend of mine used during his broke college years. He claimed people were paying him to play, but every time I saw, the donations went up when he stopped. ;-)

- Dave Polaschek

I’ve told my co-worker, the brass technician, that when we need the boss to fix something we should just go up to the Monday meeting and play violin/french horn duets. French horn is his off instrument and I’m just bad.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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